Lina Miller was only 7 years old. So was Naomi Rose Ebersole. Kayla Rolland was 6. Sadly, age was not the only thing these girls shared. They were all shot to death in their own schools.
Miller and Ebersole were two of 10 shooting victims of the massacre in a one-room Amish schoolhouse in Lancaster County earlier this month. Rolland was shot in 2000 by her classmate, another first-grader, at Theo J. Buell Elementary School in Michigan.
The guns used in both shootings were legally purchased.The issue of gun control is so old that it is repetitive even to talk about it. However, it seems that no matter how loudly people express
their feelings about gun use in America and no matter how many school shootings occur in a mere three weeks, the voices are simply not heard.
Gun control laws are being rejected. We talk about school safety, but we don’t talk about guns.
But wait a minute. Here comes state Rep. Frank Lasee from Wisconsin. The Republican
proposed a solution after the deadly shooting of a principal last month. He wants to arm teachers. He wants to give them a means of self-defense, train them and enroll them in the business of protecting our children in school. We’ll dare to circumvent the federal law against guns in schools, but we will not ban guns.
It seems to be easier to bring more guns into public places than to ban them from private owners’ hands. Too many Americans own and support gun ownership. We like guns. We want to shoot things with them. We like to have one in our bedroom drawer because it makes us feel safe.
After all, we have a piece of paper that allegedly lets us have our guns. It doesn’t matter that it is 200 years old and that its interpretation has been changed a few dozen times. It says we can have our toys, so we will, right?
But why then has the Pennsylvania House of Representatives declined all the gun control laws proposed at the beginning of this month? The regulations brought to the House did not propose to ban hunting equipment. They attempted to limit gun purchases to one per month to prevent mass buying for the purpose of illegal distribution. They tried to require firearms owners to report lost and stolen guns and ban assault weapons.
Perhaps these laws, if passed, would not have prevented the school shootings. But they could have been a start. A 1994 “Washington Post” editorial argued
that “[a]ssault weapons play a part in only a small percentage of crime.”
“Only?” So even one case, one life, does not matter?
Hunters don’t use assault weapons, but yet the lawmakers refuse to enforce gun control
measures with the excuse that too many hunters would suffer. And no one seems to be thinking about the fact that Charles Roberts, the gunman who shot and killed the Amish schoolchildren, bought three guns at once and took them into a school to “hunt” little girls.
We need to start controlling the gun situation in our country. We cannot continue to protect the “constitutional
right” to bear arms if it hurts our children and prevents them from going to school without fear. And we need to start by taking guns out of the hands of criminals – not by putting guns in the hands of teachers.
We must learn our lessons. We must ensure
that there will be no more victims like Naomi, Lina and Kayla. We must do that for the sake of our children. We must do that for the sake of a better world.
Natalya Bucuy can be reached at